Recommendation to City Council Concerning the 2016 -2024 Livingston Housing Element including its Environmental Documentation and its adoption by the City Council.

Note From TheGardeningSnail: Part of this page may have been produced by running a PDF Image File Through a Program that Converts Image to Text. My apologies for any Textual Gremlins that may have crept in. I have also broken up some of the longer paragraphs.

Meeting Date May 24, 2016

Agenda Item #: 2a

Meeting Date:  May 24, 2016

Report Date: May 18, 2016

CITY OF LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION STAFF REPORT

CITY FILE NUMBER: Recommendation to the City Council concerning the 2016-2024 Livingston Housing Element including its Environmental Documentation and its adoption by the City Council.

PROJECT LOCATION: City-wide

PROPOSED ACTION: Adoption of Resolution 2016-_, making a recommendation to the City Council.

PREPARED BY: Randy Hatch Contract City Planner

BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION:

As the Commission is aware, the City is required by the State Housing Element law schedule to prepare and adopt an updated Housing Element for the 2016 -2024 time period. The City retained the services of a specialized housing consultant to assist us in this effort, Mintierharnish.

The City formally began this update process in December 2015 with a kickoff meeting followed in January 2016 with Stakeholder and Community meetings. A joint Planning Commission I City Council study session was held on February 23, 2016.

City staff and consultants prepared a draft Housing Element Update to respond to the requirements of State law and the issues and concerns expressed by the public, Planning Commission and City Council.

The preparation of Livingston’s 2016 -2024 Housing Element is allowed by State law to be an update rather than an entirely new document.

The City qualifies for this treatment because the City’s prior Housing Element was found to be in full compliance with State housing element law and was “certified”. Therefore, City staff and consultants updated selected sections of the Element with newly available data, evaluated the results of various housing programs and policies, and developed new programs to respond to changing conditions and changing emphasis in State law.

All these changes or updates were highlighted in the document distributed and discussed at the joint Planning Commission I City Council study session on February 23, 2016.

One of the most important updates was the documentation that the City has sufficient land zoned with higher density zoning such that the City can provide its “fair share” of housing affordable to low and moderate income households.

The City staff and consultants made concerted efforts to seek out and obtain comments, reactions, and suggestions on the draft Housing Element. Cities do not actually build or provide housing but the Housing Element Update insures that the City is doing all it can to encourage and provide opportunities for the private and non-profit sectors to construct housing in the City.

City staff received a variety of questions, comments and suggestions during the meetings, study sessions, and by letter. Based upon the comments received, the draft Housing Element was revised.

On March 4, 2016, the draft Element was submitted to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for their required review and evaluation.

On March 21, 2016, City staff and consultants had a telephone conversation with representatives of HCD to further facilitate HCD’s review of the draft Element. The draft Element was further revised and modified per this telephone conversation with these further revisions and modifications being transmitted to HCD on April 19, 2016.

The revisions and modifications incorporated into the Element since the joint study session were either data corrections or clarifications. No substantive policies or programs were added during this process.

These efforts were successful because the City received a letter from HCD dated April 20, 2016, (enclosed) stating, “The draft element meets the statutory requirements of State housing element law. The element will comply with State housing element law (GC, Article 10.6) when adopted and submitted to the Department …”

During the time of the State HCD review, City staff and consultants prepared an Initial Study and proposed Negative Declaration per the requirements of State CEQA law.

This Initial Study documented that the 2016 -2024 Housing Element Update will not result in significant impacts to the environment. Accordingly, the City intends to adopt a Negative Declaration, pursuant to Section 21080 (c) of the Public Resources Code. The Initial Study I Proposed Negative Declaration was distributed to the State Clearinghouse and other affected and interested parties, agencies, organizations and individuals for the required 30 day public review I comment period.

This period started on May 2, 2016, and ends on June 1, 2016.

By design, the Commission’s public Hearing on the Housing Element Update and its environmental documentation is occurring before the close of the public review I comment period.

This is to allow interested parties, the public, and the Commission itself to make any comments or suggestions that would be within the comment period and that could be addressed before the close of the environmental review period.

GENERAL PLAN CONSISTENCY:

This proposed 2016 -2024 Housing Element Update is an amendment to the 1999 General Plan. The Initial Study documents that the Update is consistent with and compatible to the 1999 General Plan.

ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS:

The proposed 2016 -2024 Housing Element Update is subject to CEQA and as detailed above City staff and consultants are recommending the Commission recommend the City Council adopt a Negative Declaration.

RECOMMENDATION:

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution 2016-_, recommending the City Council approve Negative Declaration and adopt the 2016 -2024 Housing Element Update.

ATTACHMENTS:

1. Letter from State HCD dated April 20, 2016

2. Resolution 2016-_, Recommending the City Council Approve Negative Declaration and Adopt the 2016 -2024 Housing Element Update

3. Initial Study & Negative Declaration

4. 2016 -2024 Housing Element Update Public Hearing Draft

To see a copy of the Attachments above, click on the following link 052416special Meeting Agenda

and page down to page 6

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